Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Message

Can You Decode the 'Stones, Stars and Solutions' Document?

In the Triplet Family an impossible document has been passed down through the generations since 1099 when it was captured during the sack of Jerusalem in the first Crusade. The Triplet family are quite sure it is genuine and not a modern creation.

It's impossible because it contains languages from all over the world and dates from a time when these civilizations didn't know about each other.

We've translated the words for you:


(There's a bigger version shown below which may be easier to read)

The original was supposed to be written on thin sheets of gold but it was copied onto parchment. It consists of 4199 words written in a total of 13 languages.

The languages used are from all over the world and are:
  • Hieroglyphs - Egyptian 3200 BCE – 400 CE deciphered 1820
  • Cuneiform - Sumerian 3000 BCE - 100 CE deciphered 1836
  • Old Chinese - Chinese 1200 BCE - 300 BCE
  • Phoenician - Now Lebanon & Syria 1000 BCE - 250 BCE
  • Latin - Roman 650 BCE onwards
  • Greek - Greece 800 BCE onwards
  • Hebrew - Israel 2000 BCE onwards
  • Middle Aramaic - Arabia 200 CE - 1200 CE
  • Mayan - Guatemala & Belize 200 BCE - 1700 CE deciphered 1980
  • Tibetan - Tibet 650 CE onwards
  • Punic - Tunisia (Carthage) 900 BCE - 300 CE
  • Sanskrit (Brahmi) - India 300 BCE - 200 CE deciphered
  • An unknown language.


The message appears to be written in blocks of 323 words. The words written in known languages are repeated in each block but apparently in a random order and different languages are used. The words written in the unknown language do not appear to be repeated.

The same two hieroglyph words are written in each 323 word block.

 this one is translated as Anubis


and this one is Order.



This symbol is used as a word three times in each 323 block of text. They occur in the same positions in each 323 word block. This symbol does not appear to be a character of the unknown language - it would be too slow to draw.

All of the words written in the unknown language are exactly 8 symbols long.

323 = 17 x 19. If the words are arrainged in a 17 x 19 grid then the last 323 block of text would appear as follows (The languages have been translated for you and you'll have to scroll it to see it all).

Arranged like this the word Anubis always appears at the right hand side of the grid.

There are 22 symbols used in the unknown language including a • which is possibly used as as a separator. The symbol is also possibly used as some form of punctuation.

Apart from these two symbols and 16 other symbols which occur in the last text block all of the other symbols used consist of four other symbols only. These symbols are:

     
The Triplet family also hold a rectangular shape 'stone' which also bears some of these symbols, some lines and crosses:.


The message and stone are said to hold the secret to a great power. The Triplet family have been unable to completely decipher it although a great deal more progress has been made since the 1980s when the Mayan language was first translated.

Can you decode the message?


Here's some clues:
  • Words written in hieroglyphs can be read left to right or right to left. Find the direction animals face and read in that direction. In the message above the symbols making the words Anubis and Order face left.
  • Words written in Phoenician never appear at the bottom of each 17 x 19 grid
  • Words written in Old Chinese never appear at the left or at the bottom of the text
  • Words written in...
If you give up remember it remained unsolved for a thousand years AND you can cheat, because the solution is available in our book 'Stones, Stars and Solutions'.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Immortality Gene

Is it possible that one day humans could have a greatly extended lifespan and be effectively immortal? There are many scientists who think this is not only possible but will happen during our lifetimes.

Discoveries so far:

  • Telomeres are areas at the end of DNA strands which get shorter as we age and seem to protect the DNA strand as it replicates itself.
  • What was formerly called 'Junk' DNA, seems to protect DNA strands from ionising radiation and oxidising agents.
  • There's something in young mice blood which rejuvenates old mice. It's absent in the blood of older mice and if removed from young mice, they age quickly.
  • There is an immortality gene. As you get older it seems to be switched off. As our understanding of DNA grows we hope to switch it back on.
  • Foods containing anti-oxidising agents seem to slow down aging.
Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation believes that the first person to live to age 1,000 is alive now.
Even if all the medical research comes to nothing, others believe it will be possible to download a human mind into a computer soon—within the next 25 years. That mind can then control a robotic body which won't have out biological frailties (but will have replaceable mechanical parts).

Either way—what's the point?

No one wants to live a long and unhappy life. Few people want to work forever. Will you get tired of your job and find it becomes a chore? Will you get tired of friends and partners?
In each case we are thinking in 'three score and ten' mentality. We have a fear of getting old.
  • We assume that with age comes infirmity. What if this is not the case?
  • We assume that we'll look older. What if you could revert back to looking age 25 and stay that way?
  • We assume we will have just one career. With a greatly extended lifespan you have time to change careers many times.
  • We assume that we will get tired of partners leading to divorce. There are people in the world who have found the perfect partner and have long and happy marriages. You might now have time to find that person.
  • We assume we'll get bored. With an extended lifespan you have time to learn new skills; time for leisure; time to explore new things.
  • We assume life will be a constant struggle with money. Put away the equivalent of $5.00 per month and by the time you are 1,667 you'll have the equivalent of $100,000 even if you earn no interest. As Albert Einstein famously stated: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it... he who doesn’t... pays it.

What is an immortal's lifespan?

Unfortunately it's not forever. Insurance tables tell us that if all other causes of death were removed, you would probably face a fatal accident within 1729 years. Being immortal won't stop that (although downloads might allow you to be resurrected). In any event entropy exists and eventually the stars providing our energy will run down. We'll then face something like Isaac Asimov's short story 'The last question'.
Incidentally did you know my Twitter name is @JChapman1729?

What can we do with immortality?

We can save all life on earth. At the moment we are very vulnerable to extinction level events such as the one which wiped out the dinosaurs. Just because it happened a long time ago doesn't mean it won't happen again. When it happens we and the other large animals are likely to be made extinct.
We're also vulnerable to the sort of impact which created the moon. If another one of those occurred all life on earth would be destroyed. This is the underlying theme of our 'A Vested Interest' book series, the first of which, 'Immortality Gene' is free.
A passing rogue neutron star or wandering black hole will also destroy all life without hitting the earth. It would move the earth out of the 'Goldilocks zone' making life impossible.

Only by creating a colony of life away from earth can we ensure life's survival. Such a colony has to be around a different star and in the absence of faster than light travel, it will take a lot longer than a 'normal' lifespan to get there. We need to construct a habitat in which people can live, play and enjoy their lives. A long term Ark of all lifeforms on earth. Now isn't that a better idea than trying to kill each other?

Friday, 27 January 2017

How to make an iPad read iBooks aloud to you

Getting a Kindle Fire to read a Kindle ebook aloud to you is easy but what about iBooks on an iPad?

Apple don't make it obvious but you can make an iPad read books aloud to you also. Here's what you need to do….

  1. First you are going to need a book in EPUB format. All iBooks are in this format already. If you don't have one - you can get the one I'm using in this image, Raging Storm, free at http://smarturl.it/ibotr You can also send EPUB files to your iCloud email address. When you get the file tap it and add it to iBooks.
  2. On your iPad go to Settings.
  3. At the right scroll down to 'Accessibility' and select it.
  4. Find 'Speech' and select it.
  5. Turn on 'Speak selection' and 'Highlight Content'. Tap 'Highlight Content' again and choose 'Words'
  6. Use the slider on 'Speaking rate' to adjust the speed to what you want. There is a delay on this, it will start speaking when you let go of the slider.
  7. Now leave 'Settings' and go to the iBooks app.
  8. Load a book.
  9. At the top right of the screen tap the AA Turn on 'scrolling view.'
  10. Now tap the first word of the book then drag the blue drag handle (bottom right corner) as far as you want it to read.
  11. Select 'speak' and it will read the text you have selected to you.
Happy listening.

Hey did you know that you can get the 9th book in the 'A Vested Interest' series - Dust to Dust ?
It's available for pre-order at Amazon and will be published on 1st Feb. 2017 (My birthday) Most of our ebooks are DRM free so you could convert it to EPUB using the free program 'calibre'.
Here's the Amazon link - http://smarturl.it/dtd  


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Where is everyone?

Is anyone out there?

On February 1st 1985 the Search for Extraterrestrial Life - SETI began operations. Since then they have checked thousands of star systems and found - nothing.

Why is that?

There are a number of possible reasons. Let's take a look at some of them.

  1. There isn't anyone other than us. Let's see - There are several hundred billion other stars in our Galaxy, and more than 100 billion other galaxies in the part of the universe we can see. It would be extraordinary if we were the only thinking beings in all these vast realms. If there isn't anyone else - 'that's an awful waste of space.'
  2. There are other intelligent beings but we are the most advanced and the others haven't developed the technology we could detect. How likely is that? There's nothing remarkable about our star. Why should we be the leading civilisation?
  3. There are other intelligent beings but they are far more advanced than us and have no desire to contact us or are unwilling to do so. That's possible, after all we on earth conceived Star Trek with it's 'prime directive.
  4. The other civilisations are just too far away for us to detect and for them to detect us. Let's see. We've been using radio since 1880. Let's be generous and assume an intelligent race could pick up radio waves generated by our use of alternating current. We started doing that in 1832. Let's be even more generous and round that up to 200 years. Here's a picture of how far radio waves would have travelled in our galaxy in those 200 years - it's the blue dot. Not the black square!
    According to some astronomers there are about 14,600 stars in that blue dot. The chances are the aliens won't be aware of us. We can see much further than 200 light years. The further away a star is, the further back in time we look. 200 years ago we were using horses and carts and just starting to use railways. Any civilisation we detect will be ahead of us in technology. That assumes they are wise enough not to have destroyed themselves.)
  5. We are just incredibly lucky to have survived extinction level events to the point where civilisation develops. Extinction level events or ELEs happen regularly.
    Extinction Level Event Occurrence

  6. Event Happens on average every:
    (years)
    Years since last one
    Asteroid impact (10 km+ size) 100,000,000 65,000,000
    Supervolcano eruption 4,900,000 26,500
    Nearby nova, supernova or gamma ray burst
    (A terrifying prospect because it could sterilise a whole group of stellar systems)
    240,000 12,000
    Ice age 100,000 110.000
    Geomagnetic reversal 200,000 (varies considerably) 781,000


  1. Advanced civilisations no longer use radio. That may be true; after all it is limited by the speed of light and the distances involved are vast. The trouble is we have no idea of what to replace radio with. Perhaps one day we will make that breakthrough and suddenly find ourselves eavesdropping on a vast interstellar communication system.

My money is on number 5. We've barely started looking though, and number 4 is a possibility.

What does this tell us?

We need to keep looking. I'm awfully afraid though, if we don't start pushing out into Space, the life on earth will not survive to ever make contact with aliens. Wouldn't it be better to spend our money pushing out from the earth than on endless silly wars that nobody wants to fight? That is the theme of our 'A Vested Interest' book series.

If this post has helped or entertained, will you help us? Download a FREE copy of our book 'Immortality Gene' from http://smarturl.it/avi It's part of a series dealing with our need to push out into Space.
Even if you never read it (but we hope you will) - it will help our rankings.
Look - a FREE e-book

And your views...?

Now it's your turn. Please use the comments to tell us why you think we haven't detected signs of intelligent life in Space. (Yes - I know. We haven't detected signs of it on earth either!)

Monday, 8 September 2014

If Humans Were Immortal...

If humans were immortal...

Let's suppose a medical research team did discover a way of reversing old age and the effects of illness, effectively making people immortal. What should they do with their 'fix'?
  1. Should they sell it at a huge price so that only the rich could afford it?
  2. Should they make it freely available to everyone by using a life virus to infect everyone it comes in contact with?
  3. Should they make it available for a small fee to anyone who wants it on condition they are sterilized first?
  4. Should immortality be reserved for those who have proved they deserve it?
  5. Should they hide their discovery in fear of the chaos it would cause?
I think you'll agree that option 1 is just simply wrong. The only way it would be successful would be for the discovery to remain a top secret. Once the knowledge got out - and it would get out - those who had benefited would be universally hated and would die at the hands of a mob probably.
Option 2 takes away the right of people to choose. There would be some who would say that this was playing god and was just wrong. Expect riots from these people; they would be quoting a verse from Genesis:

    Genesis 6:3: "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."
Another group would resent their lack of choice and would press for assisted suicide programs.
Can you see option 3 being popular? What if the 'fix' undid the sterilization. Would people pay to have this reversed once they were immortal?
Who chooses the 'worthy' in option 4? What if you are a worthy individual but never got a chance to prove it?
Would any doctor agree to option 5? Isn't the whole purpose of medicine to extend human life? Do people have the moral right to hide such a discovery?
A Vested Interest story chooses option 2. If the story in 'A Vested Interest' were to become reality, just what would be the effect?

If Humans Had a lifespan of 1,000+ Years

  • The book suggests a lifetime of 1729 years. That's not immortal but assumes a human will stay healthy until killed by an accident, starvation, war, an 'Extinction Level Event' (ELE) or some other overwhelming event. According to insurance tables that would happen on average in 1729 years.
  • Damaged tissue would be regenerated. An amputee would re-grow a limb, hair would re-grow on the bald, lost teeth would be replaced and body parts lost through surgery would be replaced. That includes contraceptive surgery! Cosmetic surgery would be stable if it was to repair physical or age damage but would reverse if it were done to change appearance.
  • What would happen to the population of the world? The population could be expected to soar initially putting a huge strain on the food supply and the demand for resources and energy. Many millions would starve. However, gradually the desperate 'urge' driving us to reproduce and replace ourselves would be brought under control - we would, after all, have plenty of time for that 'later' when we felt more secure. Eventually the population would be brought under control at a level a great deal higher than it is now..
  • Food would be scarce initially but again this would be resolved as more areas became cultivated including sea farms, 'arid' areas and underground. It's likely that new food sources would be developed including bacterial cultures, fungal sources and direct synthesis. Cellulose from plants - wheat straw, bamboo, kelp and grasses would be converted to edible food. Real meat will be grown in laborartory factories without killing the animals the initial cells came from with less enviromental impact and in a shorter time.
  • Water would be scarce in many areas for some time. A grid taking water from where it is plentiful to other areas would eventually be created.
  • The natural inclination would be to fight for food, land and resources. Initially that's exactly what would happen but we would eventually learn that cooperation produces better results.
  • Soldiers would think twice before fighting for any other principles - it is one thing to give up 30-40 years of life but an entirely different thing to give up 1000+ years. Those who didn't see things this way would probably not be missed!
  • A career would probably not be a lifetime decision. It would be changed many times. You would not want to stay in a hated job and would have plenty of time to learn new skills. The demand for education would be high as older generations go back to school to learn new skills. As far as normal K12 education was concerned the pressure would be off and there would be more time for 'fun' in school with lessons being devoted to leisure activities and non-vocational skills. K12 would become K20?
  • Politicians would want to remain in power for much longer, the climb up the political ladder would be much harder. Maybe we would someday elect 'reluctant politicians' who would see it as their civic duty to serve for a time rather than out of a desire for power. After all; anyone who wants to lead a country is probably the last person you should give the job to!
  • Premeditated crimes of violence would eventually decrease. Those inclined to violence would, over time, be eliminated from the gene pool by that very violence. Crimes of passion would no doubt continue!
  • The urge to move to a better place would be overwhelming - even if that meant transforming a harsh environment to make it livable.
  • Undersea and underground communities would be set up - anywhere there is space available. The Earth's surface might eventually become a park for leisure.
  • Space would be colonized; the Moon and asteroids first, followed by Mars, the satellites of other planets and finally other solar systems.
  • Raw materials and energy would be at a premium. Both will cause problems initially but will be solved as nuclear fusion, deep robotic mining and resources from space become available. Getting space resources using rockets would be found impractical and space elevators would be constructed.
  • Waste heat would become a major problem. Much of it will be recycled though.
  • Recycling of waste would be a major industry.
  • Concerns about global warming would soar for a while, then prove unfounded as people realize that sea levels just are not rising abnormally and temperatures start to fall around 2040 as we enter the next ice age. (Try reading Michael Crichton's 'State of Fear'). The drive to reduce carbon emissions would continue though since we wouldn't be able to burn fossil fuels needed as raw materials.
  • Technology will continue to develop at an ever faster rate. Computers and nanotechnology especially. Look forward to a personal computer you can talk to, carry with you, display within your eyes and hear through your teeth!
  • The average intelligence of the population would increase slowly. A surprising number of 'Darwin Award' candidates would fail to breed.
  • Most medical staff apart from those dealing with accidents and research would be out of a job. An end perhaps to the ridiculous hours they work?
  • Retirement and pensions would be a thing of the past. The working week would be shorter and holidays longer.
  • There would be less 'haste' in everyday life. You now have 'plenty of time'.
  • Leisure demand would soar. A huge number of people would be employed by it.
  • Drug companies would mostly convert to biotechnology, go out of business or convert to supplying chemical resources and producing food.
  • People would have an increased awareness of natural disasters and put more energy into averting them.
  • Languages would be less of a problem, people would have the time to learn them and eventually we could see a common language developing from bits of all.
  • Euthanasia centers would be accepted. Who wants to live a long and unhappy life?
  • We would run out of fossil fuels and resort to biotechnology, nanotechnology and asteroid mining to replace them. Biofuels from products such as corn would prove to be a dead end since the raw materials would be needed to produce food. Algae farming would become important.

Is This Real?

Is it possible? According to Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation, an organisation dedicated to ending ageing, the first person to live to 1,000 is probably alive now. Watch his TED talk on this subject or his interview with 'Hardtalk' at the BBC.

Will this happen soon? 

On March 9th 2015 a document was published detailing research into 'Senolytics' You can read the technical medical document here or read a simpler version at The Independent
If this post has helped or entertained, will you help us? Download a FREE copy of our book 'Immortality Gene' from http://smarturl.it/avi
Even if you never read it (but we hope you will) - it will help our rankings.
Look - a FREE e-book

And your views...?

Now it's your turn. Please use the comments to tell us what you think will happen. Would 'immortality' be a blessing, a curse or somewhere inbetween?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Your agent submission was rejected?

One thing you should be prepared for though; agents are absolutely inundated with submissions. They probably will take a while to look at what you wrote and may very well return your submission. Few are accepted. If that happens – don’t give up, try a different agent. I've seen reports that an average agent accepts just 2% of authors who approach.
The chances are that sooner or later you’ll probably get discouraged by rejections. At that point you should take a serious look at what you've submitted.

Five points you need to check:

  • Does it have that ‘hook’ to catch interest? In other words does it catch your interest in the very beginning? Think of how you browse for books in a bookstore. Would you buy your book based on the content of the first three pages?
    Here’s the opening paragraphs from ‘The Power Trip’ by Jackie Collins as an example:
      The couple on the bed had sex as if it was their final act. And for one of them it was.
      Neither of them heard the door slowly open.
    Would that make you want to keep reading?
  • Get someone else to read the synopsis you include. Do they find it interesting?
  • Does it have a prologue? If so get rid of it. For many agents a prologue is an instant turn-off. Oh – before someone points out that those Jackie Collins lines come from the start of a prologue, it seems a very short prologue – more like a very short chapter which Jackie didn't dare call ‘Chapter 1’.
  • Is the story the right length? It should be 60,000 -120,000 words. Any shorter and publishers will be reluctant to publish it because setting it up will be too expensive. Any longer and it will be too expensive to edit and they’ll be reluctant to invest so much in an untried author.
  • Is your accompanying letter good enough? Try including in your cover letter a one paragraph story synopsis starting with 'When..' and using this formula. 
    [Protagonist] who finds himself/herself in [situation] from which he/she tries to free himself/herself by [goal]. However, the [antagonist] wants to stop [protagonist] from this, and if successful, will cause the [protagonist] to experience [disastrous result].
    Here’s an example of its use:
    When a young girl moves to live with her father in a small town in Washington, she meets the boy of her dreams. He has a dark secret which she discovers. In doing so, she finds herself at risk of death from people like him. She is rescued by her new boyfriend, but still is at risk from others like him who want to kill her. She knows that all will be solved if she shares her boyfriend’s secret, but he is reluctant to allow this since he fears it will turn her into a monster.
    Recognize the story? Twilight?
If you are confident that you have met all these requirements, continue making multiple submissions to agents at the same time rather than one at a time. Agents don’t really like you doing this but often it’s the only way to cut submission times from years to months.
The one thing you shouldn't do is to allow yourself to be discouraged to the point where your book is never published ‘because it isn't any good’. Repeated rejections are quite normal. Few authors ever find success immediately. I know of one successful author who bound all her rejection letters into a long roll and when she’s asked to speak about the process dramatically allows it to unroll across the room.

By the time you've had 30 rejections it's time to consider going down the self-publishing route. Maybe you should have done that first?


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Do You Prefer E-Books or Print?

I'll choose e-readers - no contest.

  • Whilst I too love the smell and feel of a book, we buy them for their content not their smell and feel. If the lack of 'paper smell' bothers you you can buy a 'book smell' perfume to spray on your e-reader.
  • I'd much rather carry an e-reader than the complete Encyclopaedia Britannica. I think my library of 3,000+ paper books probably weighs about a ton. Most of them could fit on my Kindle Keyboard 
  • I've just finished reading a hardback book I've had since 2009. Stephen King's 'Under the Dome.' I had not read it because it weighs 1.3 kilograms (2.3 pounds) - too heavy to read unsupported. (Enjoyable book if you want to read it - get the e-book at B&N because Amazon seem to have a problem with it's publisher)
  • Putting another book on the bookshelf may satisfy some people but I have trouble finding a space for an extra book on my shelves. I've used up all the normal space (two books deep) and have run out of space between the book tops and the next shelf! 
  • I like to read relaxing in a bath. I may fall asleep and a soggy book is not easy to salvage. Your e-reader may not like water either but you can read it inside a ziplock plastic bag far easier than a paper copy! 
  • My e-readers play music and can read my book to me. The only paper book I have that does that was bought years ago for my children. 
  • Can you get Internet on a paper book? Maybe this will be possible in the future when flexible screens become available. My Nexus 7 has full Internet, plays movies, makes video calls and takes pictures also. (OK - not excellent ones)
  • Price? In general e-books cost less than a new book. Second-hand paper books may cost even less but that may change.
  • When you buy an e-book you buy a licence to read it. Most people are not keen on this but if you face a disaster which destroys your library - a fire,  your ebooks will still be there in the cloud whereas your paper books will be in the smoke.
  • The 'wicked bible' error.
    Few books are perfect. They contain typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, timeline errors, sentences which could be phrased better. Once you've bought a paper book - you're stuck with the errors but ebooks can be updated.
That's my choice. What about you?